Rey Lalaoui

Photography by Joe Henson, NYC

Hi! I’m Reyhan Lalaoui, the founder of County Films and the director of its latest project.

When I was eleven, I read a Toni Morrison quote that changed my creative direction forever: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” It struck a chord with me immediately.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve searched voraciously for characters and stories that reflect the communities where I live and learn. Growing up in a multicultural household as a young Moroccan-American, I’m used to the beauty of blended tradition – but why didn’t this unique dance have a place in the movies/television I watched and the books I read?

My academic path was my main focus for awhile and I graduated Hudson County Community College in 2017 at the age of sixteen, the youngest Valedictorian in the college’s history. Now, as a Communications major at Saint Peter’s University and an aspiring filmmaker, I’m in a position to do something about the dearth of voices I’ve observed for so long. I hope for this project to explore the unique mountains my generation has to climb, spark much-needed dialogue, and shine a light on Jersey City’s cinematic opportunities. Inclusivity, authenticity and honesty are the three principles upon which I aim to base the media I am working to create.

We’re here – and we deserve to have our stories told right.